Monday, 22 December 2014

Todber Manor Series Final Round, Sunday 21st December 2014

I must admit I hadn’t been looking forward to this match, as the venue has been very patchy, with some pegs seemingly devoid of fish.  I was on a work Xmas do in Exeter the night before, so left that early to catch the last train home and be in a fit state to fish, although I’m not convinced that leaving a good night out, to endure a torrid match, was such a good idea.

Thankfully no driving for me, as Tim Clark was once again filling one of the vacant spaces, we stopped at Cannards for breakfast and I did feel ripped off at paying £15 for two breakfasts that were missing hash browns and tinned tomatoes, the fried bread was inedible and the final gripe, is that the sausages are usually good quality, not today, they were like the Asda smart price ones we use as dog treats……

So a bad start to the day, worsened when I drew peg 33, I couldn’t refer to the previous form of the peg as this was the first time it was in, several absentees forcing Mark Poppleton’s hand, in repegging to try and ensure there were no huge gaps.  I would normally strongly disagree with altering pegging during a series, but I have a lot of sympathy with him in this case and feel it was the best option.

The pegs either side of 33 had little form from the previous rounds and with 38 being taken by Mike Nicholls and 37 by Ash Tomkins, I thought that it would take a miracle to get anything from this, as I needed a section win to have any hope of scraping into the final payout places.  Chauffeur Tim drew 31 next to me and was busily scrounging bait, as one of the no shows had agreed to bring his bait.
I set up a rod with the smallest size pellet feeder on and then 4 topkits, one for down the edge, which I didn’t hold out too much hope for, one for maggot down the track, one for meat at the bottom of the far shelf and a rig for up the shelf, although opposite me the island has collapsed into the lake.  This meant that the area I could get to along the far shelf varied wildly in depth from 4” to 3’, I found an area that had about a foot  or so of constant 2’ depth and picked that as the area to fish.

I managed the odd tiny roach from here and then one small carp, before holding 16m for no reward got too much, a look down the track produced another tiny roach, but even they weren’t exactly prolific. Then a foul hooker about 5lb, but I reckon he was a loner, as no further indications were forthcoming.  The pellet feeder did not produce a bite, apart from one tiny roach when I tried live maggot under the micro’s.
By now I was becoming fed up of watching Ash’s elastic coming out, Mike Nicholls had a few and peg 35 was also getting some fish, whereas myself and those to my left were struggling to get a bite.  I had a short walk up to peg 28 and put the kiss of death on Tony (Rixon) as I saw two bites whilst stood with him, before his peg also died completely.

I went back and tried again, this time starting up a new line and very frugally feeding 4mm meat, this produced one bite only, an F1 around the 2lb mark. With ¾ of an hour to go, with me on two carp and an F1 and Tim struggling, we decided enough was enough and packed up.  Whilst packing up I had underhanded the pellet feeder into the margin, that had been totally unproductive on the pole and it went round, another carp netted, but as I was so far behind the other end of the section, there was no chance of a late flurry and comeback.  The fish went back, all my gear was packed away tidily, in the dry and we headed off to the garage for a Costa Coffee.

 No idea of the results, but well done to those who triumphed in the league, thanks to Mark and Nick for running it, running a series is a thankless task I am well aware of.  I must admit, the way I feel at the moment I wouldn’t be rushing back to fish it again, unless the league is earlier in the year.

Next match up for me will be an open on Avalon on 4th January, as I am working flat out over Xmas and New Year, hope to get a good result to christen my new Octbox on its first outing.  Contact Tony Rixon to book in for that one.

So whilst it’s Bah Humbug really, I will wish anyone who has got this far down my drivel,  Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Trinity waters Christmas Match, Sunday 14th December 2014

16 booked into this one, a decent breakfast at home for a change, before a nice steady drive down to the usual cheery welcome and cup of coffee, thanks to Misha and Tom for getting this match organised straight after their honeymoon.

The weather forecasters had been promising rain earlier in the week, but as the day drew nearer, the forecast changed to no rain and a 13-15mph wind, as we drew, it was perfectly still and the lake surface was calm and flat.  I had fancied a draw on the far bank, so wasn't disappointed to see peg 8 reveal itself after I drew.  I had brought two lead rods and a pole for this match, I'm not normally tempted to fish the lead or feeder on this venue, but the way I feed it in the winter, should see the method or banjo feeder work. By the all-in a chilly wind was blowing straight into my face and there it stayed all day!!!

I set up the two lead rods, one with a banjo feeder on and the other with straight lead, I had brought a couple of slices of bread for use with this, but with the water still well coloured for the time of year, I wasn't sure it would work.  next out the holdall were 3 topkits, one with a rig to fish the 4' deep margin, where I fully expected to catch some fish from, especially as peg 9 was empty and I could get under the platform, usually a banker in winter for extracting the resident fish.

Two other top kits, a MW Pinger 0.4g with a bulk of No8's and two No10 droppers, this was finished off with a 0.14 hooklength and a 16 6313 hook.  The other rig was a 0.3g NG Gimp, with a bulk of No9 shot, with 3 droppers, hopefully to pick up any fish sat off the bottom, this had a 0.12 hooklength and 16 6313 hook.  This was the most successful rig, although neither were frantically busy......

On the all in I fed two pole lines, one at 10m and one at 14.5m, the shorter line was fed with micros and a few dead maggots, the longer line with micros and 4mm pellets, again, just a small amount.  I then started by casting a banjo feeder to the halfway point, this was a fruitless exercise of 30 minutes, before I switched to the 10m pole line, this was also biteless.  Pushing the pole out to 14.5m saw a couple of fish come to the net, just a small roach and a skimmer, but it was a start.  Bites were hard to come by, but they bites I did have were all as a result of lowering the rig through bait toss potted in, a carp about 7lb then graced the net, as i had swapped to corn on the hook to avoid the small roach.

The pole line then died off, an early look in the margin with corn had a 2lb carp take it almost straight away, that would be a good sign usually, but today it was to be a lone bite and fish until another one with an hour to go. Back onto the 14.5m line and it was impossible to see the float at times due to the ripple, occasional bit of sun and constantly changing shades of cloud reflection, colour was irrelevant, the conditions weren't conducive to sensitive bite indication.  Surprisingly the 10m line did not produce a bite at any time during the day, even the odd tiny roach and rudd that took the double maggot preferred to stay well away from the bank.

I swapped back to the method, but this time with 3 dead maggots and dropped a lot shorter, on the pole line, this produced a positive pull round and I was surprised when a 21/2lb perch popped up and was netted, Apart from a 3oz roach which fell off, this was the last bite on the method.  Switching back to the pole saw another decent perch netted and a couple more small skimmers, but it was too slow and that was the case all along the bank that I had fancied......

My 3 carp went 11.07 and my silvers 8.01 for a 19.08 total which apart from the corner peg, was the top weight on the bank, but it was a long way behind Nick Harvey who had a very comfortable win from peg 20.

A big thanks to Misha and Tom, who kept the Trinty tradition going, bringing round hot soup, sausage rolls and mince pies during the match, it was disappointing to end my good record in this match (2 wins, a 2nd, a 3rd and a 4th), but the cold wind and the draw beat those of us on the far bank today.

Todber Manor next Sunday, last in the series and I think most are expecting a grueller, for my part the section I am due to be in has been dominated by peg 38, so if it stays the same, a draw there looks essential.

1: Nick Harvey  121.09 peg 20
2: Tom Mangnall 61.03 peg 25
3: Steve Evans 40.04 peg 5
4: John Davies 34.04 peg 7
5: Dave Evans 31.12 peg 17
6: Kev Perry 29.05 peg 28

Mark Broomsgrove  16.04 peg 14

Monday, 8 December 2014

Lansend Winter League Round One, Sunday 7th December 2014

I've been looking forward to this, whilst Landsend has been far from kind to me, the failure to gain any consistency in open matches, other than bombing out, has mostly been of my own making, my second year fishing this series and was second in the silvers last year, I was hoping to make a decent attempt at the overall league this year.

With the early start ordered by organiser Ken, the assembled throng were eagerly waiting the appearance of the briefcase, which has now become a symbol of the league, as well as no small amount of good humoured merriment and piss taking on facebook.  Managing to sneak towards the front of the draw queue saw me pull 36 from the tin, a peg that was unlikely to compete with those at the end of the section, but it does usually give a few bites.

4 rigs for today, I only caught on one of them, a 0.3g NG Gimp, on 0.14, with a 0.12 hooklength and a 16 6313 hook, I was reluctant to go lighter as the lake does hold some big fish.  The other rigs were a margin rig, several looks to the empty pallets either side, not so much as a dink on it. Two rigs for up the shelf across, one with a band on for hard pellet, that didn't get wet and a similar rig with a plain hook on, that got wet, but was as motionless as the margin rig.

I fed some micros and dampened 4's down the middle, and caster up the shelf, after 20 minutes and no bites, I swapped to caster at the base of the far shelf and a 1lb+ chub was a welcome first fish.  I began to get some indications and bites at a rate enough to keep my interested, by catapulting caster tight to the catching area.  Double caster on the hook the accounted for a steady run of perch up to 2lb and another chub, before the bites tailed off very quickly.

A look on the soft pellet down the track was totally fruitless, a switch to maggot over the micro's brought another chub and the smallest perch of the day, before a switch back to the far line, which saw another chub and a perch take a liking to the double caster.  I was getting well beaten by Adrian Clark on peg 34, who was catching big carp off the end of the island, as yet I hadn't seen one!!  I wasn't alone, Tony Rixon to my right had a couple of perch and one small foul hooked carp and was really struggling for bites.  I gave up totally with pellet and concentrated on maggot for the rest of the match, managing 3 carp and one decent skimmer in the last hour and a half.

My 3 carp went 17.06 and the silver collection went 17.10 for a level 35.00, which as predicted, didn't beat the two end pegs in the section, but was enough for 3rd in section, 8th overall and a lake silvers win, so not the start I wanted, but, a welcome envelope,  not as bad as it was for some.  The weekends weather and the clarity of the water really knocked the fishing back, a spell of settled weather, even if its cold would be welcome. Have to wait until 25th Jan for the next round, that will decide if it turns into a silvers league or I can still progress in the overall league.

Next up, Xmas match at Trinity next Sunday, looking forward to it.

1: Dan White 89.07 peg 31
2: Adrian Clark 77.10 peg 34
3: Ken Rayner 65.06 peg 32
4: Glenn Calvert 53.07 peg 13
5: Ian Brownsey 39.07 peg 7
6: Paul Elmes 37.00 peg 70

1: Andy Hembrow 19.10 peg 68
2: Chris Fox 17.10 peg 36

Monday, 1 December 2014

Landsend Open, Sunday 30th November 2014

Not having been to Landsend for a while, I thought it best to get a practice in before the start of the winter league next Sunday. The draw could have been kinder to me, I thought, as I stared at 24 in my hand, but the fish were obviously down that end as 125lb had won from peg 2 the day before.

There was little on offer in the way of fish movement, colouring up or bubbles as the match lake has taken on its winter guise, water clearing, a few leaves and twigs floating around and an occasional tiny silverfish blipping the surface.

I was toying with the idea of cubing up a tin of meat, as the day was mild, but I resisted and stuck with my pre-match plan of pellet, caster and maggot. 4 topkits, a MW F1slim on 0.14 to 0.10 and a 18 6313 to fish caster or soft pellet for skimmers short and off to my left. A pencil float on 0.14 to 0.12 and a 16 6313 to fish soft pellet at 14/16m and another similar with a band on, in case hard pellet worked. Finally a rig to fish down the edge, plumbed up tight to the tree at 14m.

On the all in I fed some caster short and some micros and caster off to my left at about 7m, some micros and dampened 4mm's at 14m, finally a few casters up on the shelf along the edge and pellets at full depth under the tree bough. Starting short on the caster to see if there were any 'mug' fish around, was fairly pointless, one tiny perch to show for it. The 14m line was more productive, far from manic, but for the first couple of hours a few bites, indications and fish in the net for about 48lb.

Nick Duckett on 1 had started down the edge and was doing a fine job of catch and release, I hadn't wanted to go down there too early, but the looks I had down there yielded nothing on pellet or caster and two perch for about 1 1/4lb in total on prawn.

I was fairly confident that things were going OK, as I seemed to be competing well on the lake and expected the peg to get stronger, then just after the 2 hour mark the peg went dead, I tried 16m, I looked over my caster lines, I started a new line at 16m off to my left, I persisted with the edge, all to no avail, I didn't have a bite for over 3 hours (apart from a 1oz perch and a similar sized roach) even on a single maggot. I am sure I didn't over or under feed it, but obviously I can't 100% guarantee that, but there had been signs of fish on the 14m line and these completely stopped.

With 15 minutes to go the the float buried and I had another fish to take my total to 54lb, nowhere on the day, but frustratingly close enough to have been in with a shout had I been able to catch at even half the rate of the first two hours, in that three and a half hour blank spell.  Nick on peg 1 managed a few fish in the last hour or so by fishing to the island, as did a couple of others, it seemed that as the day wore on and the water slightly warmed, the fish moved to the shallower water around the island, with 24 not having an island, I was a bored spectator.

No complaints about the weights for the last day of November, a couple of 90's, 70's 60's and 50's and a few double figure nets of silvers, top weight 22lb.  So lets hope it doesn't go freezing cold before next Sunday.  I didn't get the results, I'm sure they will be on Ken Rayners blog.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Todber Manor Individual League Round Three, Sunday 23rd November 2014

Having been working since the last round of this series, I was looking forward to getting out on the bank and catching a few fish.   I was due to be in what has been the poorest section weight wise, but had no concerns about that as the only aim is section points.
Nice to be a passenger down again with Tim, who managed to draw the peg next to me – 25 and me on 26, frustratingly there were two no shows in the section, which gave the other anglers plenty of room, whilst I was in the middle of the section.

I still felt I would catch and was surprised to note the water had coloured up a little since the last match……. the 3 slices of bread I’d brought weren’t coming out of the bag.  Bait tray consisted of maggots, dead and alive, micros, a few dampened 4’s and a few expanders, I also cubed up one tin of meat.

Rigs were as per the last couple of matches, in fact two of them, the ones for down the track, plumbed up spot on with no adjustment needed.  The margin was deeper than the other pegs I have fished on this lake, the far shelf was very similar to the previous peg.  Starting on maggot across, feeding fairly negatively, I expected some indications early, but nothing, then a gudgeon and a small roach.  I had fed a few micros and dead maggots at 5m and some meat at 7m off at 11 o’clock, these lines were just as unproductive and with 1 ½ hours gone had about 3oz in the net.  Tim on 25 had two fish for 16 or 17lb and Ash on peg 28 was catching regularly.

I persisted and ended up with 7 carp and a couple of small silvers for 24.08, the carp were small compared to those that Tim was catching and I must admit to getting pretty frustrated as Tim and Ash caught, whilst I sat for long periods without any indication that there was a fish in the peg.
I wish I could say I fished it wrong, I’m convinced I didn’t do it drastically wrong, my meat line never gave me a bite all day, my fish came to maggot, 3 of the fish down the edge in the last hour.  I am convinced that the fish were sat in the gaps to Tim’s left and Ash’s right, they would not come past either of them.

With 5 minutes to go, I saw the first indication of a fish on the far shelf and dropped a double white maggot tight across, the float buried and a decent carp was on, but came off halfway across, just about summing up my day, although it wouldn’t have made any difference, I was well beaten , I feel by circumstance and the draw, rather than my own hand. 

So a real test for my new found PMA, tricky to analyse when the peg seemed so devoid of fish.  I think these ‘snake’ type lakes suffer worse than bigger lakes when there are gaps in the pegging, as the fish can drop into them and have no reason to move.

It looks like that's the end of my series, but with one match to go, a section win and a couple of results going my way could see me sneak into the last one or two payout places, but with the section I am in next having been bossed by peg 38 - its won the section every time so far - once again the draw will play a big part.

1: Ash Tomkins  115.05 peg 28
2: Alan Oram  74.04 peg 38
3: Tim Clark 61.09 peg 25
4: Dan White 54.04 peg 13
5: Mike Nichols 51.12 peg 23
6: Ken Rayner  51.10 peg 11

Monday, 10 November 2014

Todber Manor Individual Series, Round two. Sunday 9th November 2014

A poignant picture to open this blog, my last ever bag of Avon Angling casters, freshly turned by Mr Rixon's own fair hand.  I didn't really plan to fish caster, but I couldn't resist buying them, for all the banter and jokes about floaters and squatt sized casters, Tony has consistently sold good quality, fresh caster, not sure where I can get bait like this now, without traveling to Viaduct.

To counter the last, a first as well, amiable Auto Electrician Tim Clark contacted me earlier in the week and offered a lift, which I gladly accepted, the journey down was somewhat extended by our 50 minute wait for breakfast at Cannards Well, apparently the breakfast chef didn't show up and then they had to wait for an egg delivery.  They were profusely apologetic and knocked 33% off the bill, but they didn't say call in on the way back for a free pint!! This made us late for the draw, but as Tony had kindly paid our pools, match organiser Mark Poppleton wasn't too grumpy....

As this was only my third visit to the venue the draw didn't mean much to me, peg 17, but as I didn't get any of the usual banter about it being a flyer or terrible, I guess it is just an average peg.  The overnight frost, then bright sunshine and no wind was not going to be conducive to a bagging session, so I intended a fairly negative approach, at least to start with.

Fout top kits set up, a standard edge rig to fish at 8m along to a small bush, where I had 2' of water tight to the bank, a rig to fish maggot across on the shelf which was 18" deep and a couple of rigs to fish down the track, just hook size and line dia the difference.  the method feeder stayed in the rod bag, but I had brought a few slices of bread and set up the straight lead just in case.

Starting across on maggot, I had 7 carp and a couple of roach in the first hour, before the bites completely dried up, a look down the track was equally fruitless, even when dropping down to 0.08 and a 22 hook, I think that when the fish shut up shop on this venue, it doesn't matter what line and hook you are using, nothing seems to bring a bite.

At 12.15 I tried searching along the far bank with the lead rod and bread popped up 6", two bites, two foulers lost, so the fish were still there, just had to work out how to get them to open their mouths.  I swapped between the far shelf and down the track, taking odd fish until 14.00, when I had a look in the inviting margin, this produced an 8lber first drop in and then a 4lb fish, before the margin went the way of the other lines, which was to produce a fish or maybe two, before having to rest the line and try and catch a fish from elsewhere.  In the last hour I managed several fish from down the track and lost a 3lb bream and a 5lb carp which would have won me the section, the hook was just losing is sharpness, not sure if that the reason, but if so, bad angling/laziness on my part not to change it.

I was admitting to 70lb and put 77.07 on the scales for fourth overall and second in the section, by 5lb, lets hope a 10p hook doesn't end up costing me ££££'s come the end of the series. Second in section meant a pick up, so still managing to keep the run going and Chauffeur Tim also picked up second in his section with 73.01, so a content van on the way home.  I'm not back out until the next round in two weeks time, far too much work.......

Oh, the casters..... well I fed a few, caught a roach on double caster and donated most of them to Help the Aged - the Silverfox, Mike Nicholls, for him to use at Emerald later this week.

1: Roland Lucas 118.10 peg 38
2: Ash Tomkins 82.12 peg 14
3: Nick Merry 81.09 peg 9
4: Chris Fox 77.07 peg 17
5: Tim Clark 73.01 peg 7
6: Tom Ince 64.04 peg 9

The league is tight at the top and I doubt anything but a section win next time will keep me in touch with the framing positions.

1: Ash Tomkins 3 1/2 points 168.14
2: Nick Merry 4 points 140.00
3: Fred Roberts 4 points 128.02
4: Calum Craig 4 points 117.00
5: Steve Tucker 4 points 111.02
6: Ken Rayner 4 points 95.14
7Chris Fox 4 1/2 points 163.09

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Viaduct Open, Match Lake, Wednesday 29th October 2014

Traveled down today with Tony Rixon, we stopped and picked up Tom Thick on the way before a breakfast at Cannards Well, not bad at all and thoroughly stuffed after it.  10 fishing to day, so spread around the lake, at least peg 39 wasn't in so I couldn't draw that, its not been kind to me in the past.

I managed to draw 43, sandwiched between Tony on 44 and Giles Cochrane on the favoured 42, I intended to start on soft pellet in an attampt to catch F1's, skimmers and carp, so pumped some expanders and set up a 0.2 NG Gimp to fish it.  Plumbing up revealed nearly 12" difference between 8m and 14m, so another rig for 14m, which I hoped to catch on caster, also a shallow rig for caster and a margin rig for either side, but they were short margins.

I really struggled to get a bite on pellet, whilst Tony was catching well, Giles had a few fish on the shallow rig, but it wasn't frenetic for him and it was soporific for me. I switched to double dead maggot at 14m and had two skimmers, but that was it, all further attempts to catch at 8m or 14m were met with an inordinately long wait for a bite, which was then a razor blade skimmer.

The best bait by far was maggot over loose fed maggot and whilst the action remained slow, I realised that I was too far behind Tony to catch him and by now Giles was catching regularly down the long margin that is a nice feature of peg 42, so I wasn't likely to catch him either.  I had to decide that the only chance of picking up today was to fish for the one silvers prize on offer, so an all out silvers approach was the way I went and I slowly added some skimmers perch and roach to the net, as well as a few unwanted F1's and carp.

When the scales got to me the top silvers weight was Ziggy with 15lb odd, thankfully my switch to silvers paid off and I weighed 17.14 to take the silvers and qualify for next years silvers all winners final.  I caught most of my skimmers on my topkit just in front of the rushes to my left, I had tried a couple of lines with GB, but this seemed to be the kiss of death to the line both times.

So, apart from three DNW's I was last in the match, but one of only three to trouser some coin, as Paul paid the top two and top silvers, good decision making on a day I didn't fish well, until I switched.  Not much fishing for me in November as I am working for most of it, just the two series matches at Todber.

1: Dan White 177.08 peg 51
2: Tom Thick 134.05 peg 49
3: Giles Cochrane 132.02 peg 42
4: P-Nut 127.07 peg 40
5: Tony Rixon 123.11 peg 44
6: Ziggy 72.02 peg 47


1: Chris Fox 17.14 peg 43
2: Ziggy 15.12 peg 47

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Todber Manor Series, Sunday 26th October 2015

Before the fishing witterings today, I'd like to say a big thank you to Tony Rixon (and the Gimp) for all his help, the good value on bait and purchases as well as all the cups of coffee in Avon Angling, sad to see him closing down, I hope he manages to find himself the job he wants.

Had breakfast at home today and I was amazed at the drive down, it was totally stress free, every tractor or dawdling halfwit occured at a passing place or they turned off just as I got to them, wonderful.

Four sections of six on todays match, no overall payout, just 1st and 2nd in section, which I think is a fair way to pay out a league that is based on section points.  I wasn't too fussed where I drew, but missed out on flyer 38 which was stuck to Tony Rixon's palm, I had thought about running an optional superpool for the overall, glad I hadn't now, as that would likely be an addition to Tony's retirement fund.

I found myself heading to peg 3, which DNW last match, but after last weeks confidence booster, then surely it couldn't be too different... could it??  I had brought a method rod after catching on it last week, but the wind was less today, no ripple, which might mean it would not be the way to go.  The water had lost a bit of colour and on plumbing up (using last weeks rig) I found this peg was almost 12" shallower down the track and the margins had no nice shelf, they sloped off quite steeply.

I did try the method at the start and had 3 fish on it, but it was slow with no liners.  Swapping to the pole at 16m, with a banded 6mm pellet brought a fish straight away, then I hooked on that went mental, I discovered why when I landed it.  it was wrapped in a complete rig, with a plummet attached still and I had hooked the line that was wrapped round its body.  In the net it span like a Whirling Dervish and completed tangled my rig with the other one and bent my wire stemmed float like a banana. Another rig on and back over there, lifting and dropping seemed wrong, no bites on it, if I sat and waited, I would get a bite, but this didn't last long.

Abandoning the 16m line, I looked in on my 5m line, which last week had plenty of carp competing for the maggot, not so this week, I had one, then the small roach moved in, waste of time, a switch to meat was totally non productive, so I had a look short at top kit length, maggot over maggot, this produced a 10oz roach (there seems to be some cracking roach in this venue) a perch and then two carp which went 10lb and 5lb, this line then died as the others had.

I did try the straight lead across, in case the method was putting them off, I had one gudgeon on that, so up the bank it went.  The last couple of hours were spent switching between the margins with maggot and the 5m line with meat, taking odd fish, never more than two from the same swim, without resting it, definitely not as many feeding fish in the peg as last week.

I had dropped my clicker, so lost my way at the end as to what I had, but knew it wasn't anywhere the net limits and the scales showed 86.02, which was exactly the same as Ash on peg 1, that gave us equal second in section and 6th in match and as we had to share the second in section money, we both got our £15 pools back. The drive home was a nightmare, I was stuck from before Castle Cary to Guerney Slade, behind a doddering sod who braked down to 25mph every time a vehicle came in the opposite direction, thankfully the straight in Guerney Slade was clear and I reduced my stress levels after overtaking the cretin.

1: Tony Rixon 156.02 peg 38
2: Bela bakos 123.10 peg 37
3: Mike Nicholls 91.03 peg 7
4: Phil Harding 90.00
5: Fred Roberts  86.06
=6: Chris Fox 86.02 peg 3
=6: Ash Tomkin 86.02 peg 1

Sunday, 19 October 2014

West Tackle Open, Todber Manor, Sunday 19th October 2014

Mark Poppleton had kindly text message about this match, I was glad to get booked in on it, as there is a series starting on Todber next week and I paid up to fish it, without having seen the place.  So a good opportunity to check out the route and to get a feel for the place.  I have been wondering if I have done the right thing, booking in, as it is a snake lake, with a 16m reach to the island, not my favourite past time, dangling pellets next to islands.

It was a nice easy drive down, an hour and five minutes, so not too bad at all and the sat nav took me straight to it, although I did have the old faithful Ordnance Survey map, just in case.... 23 fishing today and I drew peg five from the groundbait bowl that held the swimcards, totally meaningless to me, but a couple of the usual suspects announced it as a flyer, although they then did the same about several other pegs, so I was none the wiser really.

I hadn't sussed out that it was fishery nets, so had the dregs that were left in the trailer, dodgy top rings and angle adjusters and no rings in the last two sections, these nets have obviously seen some use.  There were some nice shiny new Colmic nets, but these had been snapped up early by those in the know.  So back to the van for a set of pipe grips and the best made of worn adjusters and my quick release fittings swapped on to them.

It was forecast to be windy and I was far from convinced that I would be fishing 16m of pole in those conditions, so had a 9' lead rod set up, with an elasticated method feeder, to fish tight over, I did set up and plumb a rig to fish banded pellet tight over, I had one fish on it and spent a few minutes fighting the wind, before it was consigned to the rig roost for the rest of the match.  The other rigs were a NG Gimp 0.3 on 0.16 with a 0.14 hooklength and a 16 B911 for fishing maggot at the bottom of the nearside slope, I also set up a MW Slim with a single bulk and 0.12, in case the F1's were in evidence.

Bait tray consisted 6 pints maggots, 4 and 6mm hard pellet and softened micros to mix in with some GB for the method. I started on the method and had 25lb or so in the first 45 minutes, before it went quiet, this is when I tried and gave up as a bad job the pole at 16m.  Switching to the 5m line I caught carp and the odd silver, feeding was tricky, too little and no bites, too regular and the peg had lots of roach in midwater.  I kept fish coming from this line steadily, having a couple of looks on the feeder when the line went quiet, but the initial burst of fish on it was to be the only fish it produced.

With a couple of hours to go I started feeding the margin and left it half an hour before dropping in, I caught fish up to 7/8lb throughout the last hour and twenty minutes, Alex Nadim (Spelling??) was on peg 7 and was also catching decent size fish down the edge, we were just about matching each other fish for fish.

Just a word for Mark Poppleton, his wedding ring (two weeks old....) slipped off his finger and now lies at the bottom of the lake, despite his best efforts to recover it, hope Mrs P is the understanding type.....

On the all out I thought I had 115-120lb, but I do seem to be getting worse at judging fish sizes and I was some way out, putting 149.04 on the scales for first on the day, pleasing seeing as I had never seen the lake before, but hoping I haven't used up my Todber "good draw" before the series starts.

1: Chris Fox 149.04 peg 5
2: Alex Nadim 134.04 peg 7
3: Mark Poppleton 128.00 peg 37
4: Glen Picton 118.00 peg 18
5: Dan White 94.15 peg 26
6: Calum Craig 94.12 peg 1

Friday, 17 October 2014

Viaduct Costcutter Open, Thursday 16th October 2014

19 fishing this match today, so Campbell and part of Cary lake used in the pegging, after Sunday's match I fancied a draw on Cary, the river bank or either side of Campbell, towards the river end.  I was first in the draw tin and out came peg 80, can't say it would have been my first choice and I was glad I hadn't come to fish for silvers, as it is one of the shallowest pegs on the lake.

Two lead rods set up, same as Sunday, one with a banded hook and one with a spike and four topkits, which comprised an AK47 on 0.20 to fish to the spit, the same rig would also do for the RH margin, two rigs to fish the open water, similar rigs, one with a band, one without and after Sunday's experience, I put a paste rig up and made up a small amount of paste.  Bait tray comprised 8 and 6mm pellets, some 10mm slices of meat for punching and a few soft pellets, for the spit, I had 2 pints maggots, groundbait and one tin of meat cubed up.

Starting on the lead, with an 11mm pellet on the hook, I hooked a fish after 10 minutes that ran into the end of the spit and broke an 0.20 hooklength with ease, so up to 0.22 with the replacement. Another 15 minutes before I had another bite and this one was netted, no more bites and only a very occasional liner for the rest of the first hour.

I had been feeding 6mm pellets at 6m, there was a little bit of activity there, so lead rod up the bank and out with a 4mm soft pellet, just to see what was there, it was a carp, just about double figures, but that was that, the shallow water seemed to stop them settling there, as it was very much feed and wait until a carp came along, two lost foulers were next, so I refed the line and back to the lead, trying punched meat.  This produced two fish in two chucks, before nothing again, a switch back to pellet saw a 1lb skimmer come to the net.

A switch back to the short line with paste produced a couple of fish, again having to wait whilst one turned up. I started feeding the spit at the halfway point, as well as the RH margin down to 79, the RH margin didn't produce anything and the spit was seemingly devoid of fish in the fourth and fifth hours.

The colour is dropping out of the water now, so a 16 and 0.18 on the margin rig, rather than the summers 0.20 and 14 hook. With an hour and five minutes to go, the spit starting giving me bites, worm being no good, 6 maggots being best, carp to 15lb and a couple of skimmers to 3lb coming every put in until the end, including, what seems now to be the obligatory F1, too late to push me into a envelope placing, judging by the bankside grapevine.

As it was getting near the end, I broke my usual rule of 5 fish to a net and put 6 and the F1 in one net, before having to start another, that cost me 5lb odd, as the net was over, it didn't make any difference to the overall placings, my efforts went 141.07, which was good enough for fifth on the day, if only the fish had come down the spit with two hours to go......

1: Dan White 246.07 peg 86
2: Dave Romaine 235.03 peg 81
3: P-Nut 197.03 peg 116
4: Scott Russell 161.04 peg 115
5: Chris Fox 141.07 peg 80
6: Martin Rogers 120.02 peg 128

1: Gary Etheridge 36.01 peg 85
2: M Hanham 26.10 peg 123

Sunday, 12 October 2014

West Tackle Open, Viaduct, Sunday 12th October 2014

After a fairly torrid 6 days at work, I was ready to get back to fishing, it was supposed to be an open at Todber Manor, but that was cancelled, luckily there was a decent match at Viaduct, a 39 peg open on Campbell and Cary.  For company on the drive down I had Mike Walker, who was practising for the silvers all winners final next week.  I hadn't touched my gear since depositing it in the garage after last weeks Larford Lash, so I spent an hour or so on Saturday morning, getting rid of anything mouldy and putting a few pellets in the bait bag.

I did add some worm and dead maggots to the bait bag come Sunday morning, but it was simplicity for me today, the only other bait I had was some meat, in case I drew Campbell, that stayed in the bag, as out came peg 81.  As this peg had won the all winners final the previous Saturday, there were a few comments, but I have been going to Viaduct long enough to know it is a feast or famine peg, I had to hope it was still feast today.

I set up two lead rods, one with a shortish hair and a bait band, the other with a longer hair and a spike, as I had some 8mm and 11mm drilled pellets.  All this effort was in vain, as I had nothing, not a bite nor a liner on either lead rod, which was surprising, but the main body of fish seemed to be in front of 86 and across the lake away from me.

A waggler rod was taken from the hardcase, made up ready, that went back unused as the wind altered and made it a pointless ornament in the peg, rather than a useful fish catching tool.

So onto the pole rigs, initially just two, a margin rig to fish 16m along the spit (further than I would have gone, but the vegetation has grown since the last time I drew this peg, making any closer a non starter), this would also do tight to the bank against the concrete monk. The other rig, a basic pellet rig to fish banded pellet at 14m.

I started on the lead and as previously mentioned, a biteless, linerless half an hour ensued, before a switch to 6mm pellet on the pole at 14m brought a couple of fish to the net, but they were small by Cary standards.  Another look on the lead, as 86 and 87 were catching, nothing again, so back on the pole and whilst I had been sat on the lead, I put up a paste rig, this saw a couple of fish added, but it was slow going and I was 3 or 4 fish behind Adrian (Jefferys) on peg 86.

For the rest of the match I switched between the spit ( fish fell to maggot or worm) and the 14m paste line, picking off odd fish, including a 2lb perch from the spit.  On the paste line, it was classic bubble watching, as the carp bubbles got closer to the float, my anticipation rose and when the bubbles surrounded the float if it buried, a better stamp of fish was caught on it, sadly not enough.  The spit dried up towards the end, it was a little deeper than I'd have liked, probably due to the foliage stopping me getting tight to the bank.

The LH margin down to the monk, produced one carp, it was about 1oz, so a product of this years spawning, oddly I had an F1 from the spit, a repeat of the last time I fished the peg, maybe it was the same fish?

Behind me on Campbell, on 118, Mark Poppleton had been catching well and with Adrian Jeffery on 86 at least doubling my fish count and with some big fish, I guessed my best hope was for a section win.  Sadly for Adrian, he had 8 of Cary's munters in one net and that put him nearly 3lb over the 80lb net limit, costing him a win.   I tend to stick to 5 in a net on there now, unless they are unusually small, although I was surprised when my nets were added up, I had 20lb more than I had clicked, the size of the carp is so deceptive now.

My nets went 101.02 for a section win (next weight in section was 35.04, so a bit tough), that was only good enough for 10th on the day, but the section money kept this current pick up roll going, all being well, back to Viaduct Thursday for the cost cutter.  Travelling partner Mike just out of the silvers money, 4th with 18.00

1: Mark Poppleton 190.07 peg 118
2: Calum Craig 183.09 peg 112
3: Steve Southern 174.10 peg 87
4: Adrian Jeffery 133.02 peg 86 (and that with a net disqualified).
5: Ash (or HSH)? 126.14 peg 126
6: Steve Seager 122.12 peg 114

1: Nigel Bartlett 32.09 peg 111
2: Bob Gullick 25.10 peg 85
3: Dick Bull 19.05 peg 125

Monday, 6 October 2014

MFS Larford Lash Friday and Saturday 4th and 5th October 2014

A few months back I booked in for this two day event at Larford, it was full up with 80 at one point, but drop outs reduced it to circa 60 anglers.  It was a good opportunity to meet some of the people I have conversed with on MFS as many were booked in the hotel, so I decided to stay two nights, the night before to get a good night’s kip and avoid the early drive and the Friday night.

I had Thursday off to do a bit of prep in readiness for the match and I intended to drive up in the early afternoon, calling in at Larford for a look round.  I changed my mind, thinking that if I had tea at home, then set off about 18.30, it would ensure I didn’t get involved in an early session in the bar.
A good drive up saw me in my room by just after 20.00 and not one to sit alone in a hotel room, I ventured down to the bar, first people I saw were Andy and Sarah Kinder and from there on met up with a few familiar faces and put a few names to ‘forum nom de plumes’. 

The convivial chat and banter that ensued, meant my early night good intentions were soon forgotten.   It was approaching 02.00 when a slightly haggard looking ‘lady’ with a few miles on the clock, flounced into the middle of the group and asked where she could book a room, she had in tow, a slightly sheepish looking younger  man. Once they had booked the room, they sat near us, with a drink and the lady announced her name was Marion, more commonly known as Mad Maz and it was easy to see why, she seemed more intent on chatting to us, than her beau of a couple of hours.  She gave us a potted history of her life, she was from Germany and had been divorced twice and wasn’t getting married again.  I believe she was last seen trying to get into Glen Butler’s room, she seemed to take a shine to him, but she looked like a certain crab donor at best, or the cause of some visits to the ‘special clinic’ or even worse……

So, not much sleep before the alarm clock went off and I’m not a morning person at best, but a fry up, coffee and orange juice later, I felt fine and arrived at Larford about 40 minutes before the draw.  Even though it was a two day event, it was just two separate matches, fishing Specimen and Match lakes, then swapping the next day, 30 on each lake.  I wasn’t too disappointed to draw peg 80 on Speci, as it was an end peg and even better, now you can drive round and park at that end of Speci lake.

I had planned all along to keep it simple, as there were some good anglers fishing and setting up loads of gear and having a plethora of baits on the side tray was never going to be the right way to approach it.  I set up one method rod, with a 30g elasticated feeder on, a straight lead to fish pellet and two top kits, one to fish meat at about 6m, a MW cane diamond, where I found a very slightly sloping shelf to my right, giving me about 6’, whereas in front it was nearer 10’ at 6m and still sloping off.   Last rig was an AK47 to fish down to the pallet of 81, where a foot or so from the bank I had a perfect depth of just under 2’.

The side tray had 8mm pellets and 6mm meat on, along with some hemp. For down the edge, a couple of pints of dead maggots, corn and worms, all to go in with a coarse groundbait.  On the all in I started on the method, pinging 8mm pellets over the top , this produced two fish in the first hour,  one about 10lb and a 6lber.  A switch to the bomb and an 11mm pellet on the hook saw another fish netted, but there were no liners, no real indication that there were many feeding fish in the swim.

I had also carried a made up pellet waggler to the peg and as there was the odd fish topping and rolling in various places round the lake, so I tried it for 20 minutes over where I had been pinging the pellets, but to no avail and the wind was making it tricky.  So time for a look on the meat line, this produced a small skimmer and then a carp. The little and often feeding I had been doing was not producing much, so I switched to feeding two lots of about 30 cubes and this brought some fish in, another small skimmer, then two bream, before another carp graced the net.  I also lost a couple of foul hookers, before the line went quiet.
I didn’t feed the margin until 2 hours to go and the fish didn’t turn up until the last 40 minutes down the edge, where I had 4, one which was 15lb and lost 2.  I wished I had another hour when the all-out was called, I thought I had over 70lb.

I was presented with the scales by Matt Blackmore part way through the match, so had to weigh in the Chalet bank. By the time we had got back to my peg, there was one weight,  76.03, Steve Ayres of Frenzee on peg 62 that was pushing what I thought I had, so I was pleased to hear 84.09 called by Jeff B.  That was enough to win the lake and pick up £145, so a good day.  There were several ton weights from the match lake, so I was looking forward to drawing it on Saturday.

Friday evening the hotel had an all you can eat Indian buffet advertised, myself and Calum (Craig) were disappointed to be turned away, because we hadn’t booked.  The evening took a similar pattern to that of Thursday, without, thankfully,  the visit from Mad Maz. I ended up sat on a table with Calum and the Frenzee clan, Glyn Reynolds, Steve Ayres, Andy Oldham and Rob Austin, it rapidly turned into a session, aided and abetted by Calum buying Jaegerbombs, which then seemed to appear with alarming regularity on the table, as we all wanted to buy our share but it was a good night, some interesting conversations.

Saturday morning I could have stayed in bed, but I didn’t look, or feel as rough as my drinking companions of the night before, especially Calum.  A rushed breakfast and booking out the hotel saw me a Larford in time for the draw, which was a bit delayed, as the match lake had been partially double booked for a club, meaning some anglers volunteered to go back on Speci for a second day.  I missed this, so retained a place on Match lake, but by the end, was not so convinced it was a good thing.

I drew peg 28, not an area that had produced the ton weights of the day before, but there was £50 and £40 section money to fish for, so trying to keep it simple again, I set up a method and straight lead and 4 topkits, 3 with Hillbilly Chumps on to fish banded pellet at 6m, another to fish banded pellet at 13m and one with a spade end hook for soft pellet etc.  Finally a margin rig, but the clarity of the water had me setting it up more in hope than expectation.  No meat on the tray today, just 6 and 8mm pellet, some corn, worms and the dead maggots for down the edge.

Starting on the 6m line, hoping for a few F1’s I lost a fouler first drop in, third drop in I had another bite and after a spirited scrap on the 0.14 line, a 8lber was in the net, what a great start.  Sadly this was a false dawn, that fish was netted at 11.42, 12 minutes after the all-in, the next bite I had was at 16.00, I had tried the method, with a range of hook baits, the straight lead and both lines with a variety of baits.  Between 14.30 and 15.00 the two anglers to my right packed up and went home, it was that bad, except for peg 39 opposite, who could reach the island with 14m of pole and was catching reasonably steadily.  At 16.00 I started to get the odd bite on the 6m line and managed two more carp and some skimmers  on double dead red maggot, before trying the margin to my RH side which had been vacated by the angler on pegs 29 and 31.

 There were fish in the margin, but the clear water was making the spook away from the pole and if they brushed the line, there would be a big bow wave as they headed back into the deeper water.  I did manage a couple of F1’s and a carp from the margin.  Peg 39 had weighed 108lb which won the Match lake, my fish went a shade over 22lb and that was enough to take second in section by default,  with a 33lb next to the lake winner, so another £40 to add to the weekends pot, which in all fairness, just about covered the bait, bar and restaurant bills. Andy Kinder won Speci from peg 12 and I haven’t got any other results to add.

So, in conclusion, a good weekend, I was glad I persisted with my peg on Match lake, as I knew there should be some section money to go for, it was good to put some faces to forum characters and whilst I didn’t remain the model of sobriety and early nights I intended, it didn’t have an impact on my fishing.  I’m already putting coins in my coin jar to fund next years Lash.

No fishing for me Sunday, as I was judging at a dog show, so next trip out will be a first visit o Todber Manor next Sunday.